The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 18, Issue 4, Winter 2018

William Newton
Pages 603-610

Adoption as an Analogy for Gender Transitioning
A Reply to David Albert Jones

David Albert Jones recently proposed an analogy between adoption and gender transitioning. Jones notes that adoption grants a child a social identity that is distinct from the natal identity and suggests that a similar situation might obtain in the case of gender transitioning. According to this proposal, a biological male who wishes to be called a woman is not assuming a false identity. Adoption and gender transitioning are significantly different, however: adoptive sonship participates in natural sonship in a way that is not true of the relationship between a biological woman and a man who wishes to be called a woman. Attention is given to different forms of analogy, leading to the conclusion that the use of the word woman for a biological male would be either a metaphor or a very weak analogy. In contrast, the term son as applied to an adopted boy fulfills the fundamental signification of that word.